Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a man-made colorless industrial solvent. TCE is often found at military bases as it is used as metal degreaser for heavy machinery. TCE is recognized as a human carcinogen by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Human Health Services (HHS), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the EPA. Each of these agencies has concluded that there is convincing evidence from human studies that TCE-exposure can cause kidney cancer. The strongest evidence for an association between exposure to TCE and cancer in humans is for kidney cancer.
Specifically for Camp Lejeune, water modeling studies on the Camp Lejeune water supply showed that TCE contaminant levels far exceeded the maximum contamination levels set by the EPA. And ATSDR’s 2017 assessment found that there is sufficient evidence for causation for kidney cancer to the TCE found in the contaminated Camp Lejeune water supply.
TCE in drinking water can enter a person’s body when a person drinks or touches the water or when a person breathes in steam from the water. By showering or bathing with TCE-contaminated water, TCE can pass through a person’s skin into the body. Additionally, even if a person does not drink or bathe in the contaminated water, exposure can still happen through vapor intrusion. Vapor intrusion can happen when TCE-contaminated groundwater evaporates and migrates into air spaces beneath buildings to enter the indoor air, which a person will breathe.
Given the multiple exposure routes to the body from TCE-contaminated groundwater, countless Marines and civilians have been exposed to the toxic water even if they never drank or bathed in the water.
The Nations Law Firm is honored to fight for our Veterans who served at Marine Base Camp Lejeune and all those injured by its contaminated water supply. To read more about the different chemicals that contaminated the water on base and their connection to serious health problems, please visit our Camp Lejeune page or call our office at 800-800-1102.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 2019. Toxicological profile for Trichloroethylene (TCE). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service
NTP (National Toxicology Program). 2021. Report on Carcinogens, Fifteenth Edition; Research Triangle Park, NC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health